A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Rituximab in Antibody-mediated Renal Allograft Rejection

G Hychko, A Mirhosseini, A Parhizgar, N Ghahramani


Background: The standard treatment of antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) consists of antilymphocyte antibody, intravenous immunoglobulin, and plasmapheresis. This treatment is associated with a high rate of resistance and refractory AMR. Recent interest has focused on use of rituximab (RTX), a chimeric anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody.

Objective: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies of RTX in AMR of the renal allograft.

Methods: Combining two comprehensive search themes (AMR and RTX), we searched electronic databases from 1969 through 2010, supplemented by a manual review of abstracts from nephrology and transplant meetings, and reference lists of review articles. All studies evaluating explicit response of patients with AMR to RTX were included. The outcome was pooled odds ratio (OR) of response to RTX.

Results: A total of 114 studies were identified, 94 of which were excluded on initial screening. Analysis of the 10 studies (249 patients) showed an OR of 3.16 (95% CI: 1.75–5.70) for response to RTX. Reported adverse effects included BK virus nephropathy, cytomegalovirus (CMV) viremia, pneumonia, herpes zoster, and septic shock.

Conclusion: This study suggests that RTX is a reasonable therapeutic option in the treatment of AMR. Further randomized studies are necessary to establish its efficacy and safety.


Antibody-mediated rejection; Rituximab; CD20; Kidney, transplantation; Meta-analysis; Systematic review

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 pISSN: 2008-6482
 eISSN: 2008-6490


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